It’s become increasingly clear that selling on Walmart is a priority for sellers looking to reach new customers, diversify their presence on marketplaces, future-proof their business, and ultimately make more sales. Walmart is now the second-largest retailer in the U.S., with annual online sales reaching between $13-$15 billion, and has seen a substantial increase in online visitors and shoppers in recent months, according to Walmart Marketplace statistics.
In August, Walmart made it easier to become a seller on their marketplace, eliminating the need to 'request' to become a seller and getting rid of questions about catalog size, revenue, and previous marketplaces, among other criteria. Instead, Walmart invites sellers to “Join Marketplace” and fill out basic company information — such as name and contact details — and immediately begin selling on their platform.
Why are they doing this? According to Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart, "The relationship between digital growth, marketplace growth, [and] advertising is something that we're trying to take advantage of." It’s clear that Walmart wants to expand its marketplace by accessing more sellers.
So, what does this mean for you?
Because of these recent changes, it's anticipated that an influx of sellers will be applying and getting accepted to Walmart Marketplace. As more sellers flock to Walmart, current and new sellers will need compliant, optimized, and updated product listings to succeed. As a result, the competition is sure to heat up, and now’s the time to get ahead.
We’re here to help you with that.
5 Important Tips For Quality Listings on Walmart
More competition means you may lose your profitability on the platform if you don't make the necessary updates to ensure you're still ranking well on relevant searches. Therefore, creating and maintaining high-quality listings is more important than ever.
That said, here are our top tips for updating your Walmart Marketplace listings and optimizing them for success.
1. Make Sure you Have Compliant Listings
Compliance isn't anything new. In fact, most (if not all) marketplaces have rules, regulations, standards, and laws you must comply with when selling on their platform. Unfortunately, while Walmart does have tools to help sellers with listing quality, they haven’t historically been great at actively assisting sellers with staying compliant, so it is up to you to ensure that you are.
There are specific product standards and regulations to consider, such as necessary permits, approvals, product labeling, mandatory and voluntary standards, substance restrictions, product and packaging labeling, and more. Note that these rules and regulations will vary. Factors include the product type, material, usage, age group, and even the state you’re selling in. In addition, the Walmart Marketplace team monitors for non-compliant behavior and will issue warnings and suspensions to non-compliant sellers.
Ensure you have compliant listings by referencing Walmart's Supplier Expectations Compliance Areas and making any necessary changes or updates to your listings.
2. Optimize your Listing Data, Content, and Discoverability
As the competition intensifies on Walmart Marketplace, ensure your listing data is fully optimized for Walmart's algorithm and provides a good shopping experience. Based on our conversations with sellers, product listing and content changes dramatically improve your Content Quality Score (a component of Listing Quality Score), sales, and discoverability. Note that discoverability means both on and off of Walmart.com. Walmart has made major efforts to ensure listings are eligible and optimized for shopper searches on Google, Bing, and other search engines.
A quick refresher on Walmart’s Listing Quality Score: Listing Quality Score is comprised of Content Quality Score, Reviews & Ratings, and Offer, among other more opaque algorithmic signals. Check out this great Walmart Listing Quality Score discussion video from WhyteSpyder and BlueRyse.
When it comes to Content Quality Score, Walmart suggests sellers should focus on the following areas:
- Product name — length should be 50-75 characters, clear & specific, full of keywords relevant to a shopper's search without 'keyword stuffing.' Concisely define product features, color, finish, pack count, style, size, etc. (be mindful of rules around variants). Additional title description guidelines include avoiding promotional phrases like 'best-selling' and refraining from containing any information about you or your company. Follow Walmart's formula: Brand + Item Name + Model Name (if applicable) + Style (if applicable) + Key Attribute + Pack Count (if applicable) + Size (if applicable) = Shopper Friendly, Winning Product Name.
- Description — minimum of 150 words (length varies by product). Describe your product using the product name, brand, benefits, and relevant keywords. Be specific and authentically informative. Keep in mind how shoppers might search for your product. The more detailed your descriptions, the more successful they are likely to be but avoid being repetitive.
- Key features or Highlights — these are short keywords or phrases formatted in 3 to 10 bullet points with a maximum of 80 characters per bullet and the most important features and benefits at the top.
- Images — Tightly following Walmart's image resolution requirements will help your products stand out and showcase exactly what buyers can expect to get following their purchase. Many shoppers are still skeptical about online shopping, and multiple high-quality pictures ease that worry. Note: Walmart requires at least four product images that meet or exceed their expectations. We’ve seen strong results with 6+ images, including a zoom-capable image and an image with product features.
- Rich Media or Enhanced Content — As technology advances, so do product listings, including rich media. These rich features include 360-degree images, carousels, banners, product videos and tours, a download section, comparison charts, and other advanced features that showcase the product and help listings stand out. It’s easy to go down a rabbit hole with creating this kind of content but your time and attention as a seller are precious. The best play is to identify a few products and test. When you see a conversion rate or sales lift, it may make sense to invest more resources.
- Category — Be deliberate in selecting the right category and subcategory for each of your product listings. The better you can pinpoint exactly where your product belongs, the better suited it will be to get to the right shoppers and rank better in Walmart's algorithm. Get comfortable with Walmart's inclusions/exclusions and categories/subcategories to prepare for success. Follow their additional advice to avoid common problematic mistakes (i.e., baby clothing goes in the Clothing category, not Baby, etc).
- Attributes — Shoppers may never see product attributes but they are key signals to Walmart’s algorithm where a product should sit on Walmart's 'digital shelf' and lead to a better shopper experience. Walmart places great importance on attributes as they are a significant factor in Content Quality Score. Unfortunately, including important attributes across an entire catalog can be tedious and often overlooked during optimization. However, including robust and correct attributes can differentiate between a good and a great listing. Pay attention to great tools that can list, automate, and manage listing attributes across your sales channels.
A good place to start for new and existing sellers is Walmart’s Listing Quality Dashboard.
3. Optimize Your Offer
As mentioned earlier, ‘Offer’ is an integral component of the Listing Quality Score and is synonymous with delivery speed, price, and promotion. Pay attention to the following Offer related factors:
- Item Price — Walmart is known for competitive pricing, and you have to be willing to compete with that in mind. They have no problem unpublishing you if you aren't. Follow promotional feature rules in Seller Center to stay at the forefront of searches and direct customers to your offers. Use a Dynamic Walmart Repricer tool to maintain price parity with your other webstores (*cough Amazon*) and help keep your listings published.
- Shipping Speed — It's no secret that fast shipping is becoming increasingly important for online sales and is expected by the majority of online shoppers. If you can get it to your customers faster, you will gain more traction. Shipping templates help everyone involved in the process stay informed on when and where the product is being shipped. Faster shipping dramatically increases seller conversion rates.
- In-stock Rate/Inventory — It's simple, keeping your items updated and in stock at all times is essential to ranking, so don't forget.
- Shipping Price — When you link up with programs like Walmart's TwoDay and ThreeDay options or simply have free shipping, you widen your chances of being seen and possibly winning the coveted buy box.
4. Focus on Customer Experience
Customer satisfaction is paramount to Walmart and they hold sellers to high-performance standards. Listing optimization is fundamental to customer experience because the right listing components and content help to set shopper expectations correctly. When expectations align with product listings (desired product, benefits, and features) and what shoppers receive when they order, there are fewer returns, less dissatisfaction, and an overall higher seller score.
Key performance metrics and considerations
- Order Defect Rate (ODR) — Your ODR consists of Cancellations, Shipping Defects, Customer Complaints, and Returns and should be as low as possible to be beneficial in unlocking opportunities with Buy Box and promotional campaigns. Walmart says the ideal number is around 2% and calculated from the past 30 to 120 days. Order Defect Rate = Number of orders with at least one defect/Total number of orders during the same period
- Reviews and Ratings — The more five-star reviews you receive, the greater the trust you build with your customers and Walmart. Walmart suggests going through its Spark Reviewer Program or third-party software like BazaarVoice to collect more ratings. Product reviews on Walmart warrant an entire post to themselves given their relationship to Listing Quality Score (stay tuned for future Zentail content). 8th and Walton has a great post on Marketplace reviews that dives deeper into this topic.
5. Walmart is Not the Same as Amazon
If you’re established on Walmart Marketplace or taking advantage of the easier application process, remember that Amazon and Walmart are different creatures and require different styles, techniques, and strategies to succeed.
Copying and pasting Amazon listings won’t cut it. You aren't working with the same rules, systems, and buyers on Walmart as with Amazon, so you'll find that any effort to copy and paste will go wasted, and you’ll need to update your listings to meet new criteria.
Significant differences include
- Products that are trending on the site.
- Different formats and product data. Take, for instance, the title of your product listing. Amazon likes them to be longer, while Walmart prefers them short, unique, and with no special characters.
- To be listed successfully on Walmart, products must have unique UPCs (GTIN or ISBN), even if the products are a part of a pack. For example, let's say I have a single water bottle for sale in my store and a 2-pack of the same water bottle. In this case, the single water bottle must have its unique UPC, and the 2-pack must have its unique UPC. Having specific UPCs is key to getting traction on Walmart especially, since Walmart requires UPCs to be different for every product/SKU. Help with registering UPCs and understanding requirements
- Amazon is more forgiving while Walmart takes their copy guidelines more seriously. Avoid suspension by staying in good standing.
Signs that You Should Refresh Your Walmart Listings
For existing sellers it’s important to revisit your listings to ensure continued success given constant product listing updates and changes. For new sellers, if you aren’t seeing success after some time, there are some red flags to consider.
- Sales are stagnant or nonexistent — Chances are slow sales mean you're not getting seen. You may have a listing impression or visibility issue, not a conversion issue.
- You're not eligible to use Walmart ads — Walmart Ads eligibility is a good sign of whether or not your listing needs to be optimized. To achieve Walmart Sponsored Products eligibility, your product must be in the top 128 organic results, be in the same category as the search query, and be of the same product type as at least one non-sponsored product in the top 20 results, among other requirements.
- Frequent listing errors —Frequent listing errors indicate poor listing quality, meaning shoppers may have difficulty accessing/viewing your listing. Invest time here to get your listings up and back in the mix.
- Similar items are getting the attention that your product is not — If you notice that competitors with similar products are doing better, consider the differences between listings. Are their listings higher quality and better aligned with Walmart’s guidelines? Is it price? Do they have more badges? Whatever the case, quickly adjust your listing to get customers to come to you instead.
We’ve covered important listing optimization factors for Walmart Marketplace. There are other factors to consider, and stay tuned for updates. In the meantime, it’s worth spending time learning more about the following listing errors and mistakes. CedCommerce has a helpful article on common listing mistakes and how to address them.
- Product ID and Product mismatch
- Duplicate Listings
- Listing of Prohibited Products
- Missing/Incorrect SKU values
- Invalid Product Identifier
- Incorrectly Setting Up Refurbished/Used Items
To Summarize it All
We covered a lot. Ultimately, your listing quality matters for many reasons, including more opportunities, product visibility, conversion rates, buy boxes, and more. Optimizing your Walmart listings is integral to finding success in the marketplace and isn’t a one-and-done deal.
- Be descriptive, compliant, and follow Walmart’s copy guidelines to stay in good standing.
- Always remember to put yourself in the shoes of the shopper. Think about their needs and how they search, and you’ll subconsciously adjust your listings to provide a better experience.
- Pay attention to Listing Quality Score and utilize the Listing Quality Dashbaord.
- Ensure your listings are in the correct category and have plenty of attributes to help shoppers search and filter for what they’re looking for. You’ll be rewarded by Walmart’s algorithm.
- Invest time and effort into creating high-quality images, rich media, badges, reviews, and anything else to help your listings stand out.
- Find the right tools to help with keyword research, listing optimization, and listing management.
- And don’t set it and forget it. Track your listing performance, take notes from competitors, maintain a compelling offer and periodically refresh your content.
Optimizing your listings and keeping up with all the product data demands can seem daunting, if not an outright turn-off. Thankfully there are great platforms out there that help sellers manage their listing optimization, automation, order management, inventory management, platform change management, and fulfillment from a centralized hub. Each seller is unique and faces different challenges. We’ve partnered with Walmart to provide a multichannel and listing automation experience that drives meaningful results for Walmart sellers (3x growth when sellers switch to Zentail). If you’re a brand or authorized reseller curious to learn more - schedule some time with one of our experts. We’re happy to learn more about your business and see if you may be a good fit for our platform.
There’s a ton of great information out there, and we’ve linked to a few throughout the post. We’ve included additional articles and tools to help you with your Walmart Marketplace selling journey. If we missed anything, please let us know.
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